Rare $5 bill has a match in museum's collection
OCTOBER 2012 - A rare century-old $5 bill up for auction made national headlines when it fetched more than $200,000. A third bill in storage at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks was accessioned in 2009.
Ethnology and History Collections Manager Angela Linn said the bill is in pristine condition and looks as if it just came off the printing press. "Its distinctive quirk is a curve in part of the edge."
Until recently, the history of the $5 bank note in the ethnology & history collections was mostly blank. It was received by former UAF Rasmuson Library Alaska and Polar Regions archivis Anne Foster as a “found in collection” piece.
The museum has a standing MOU with the library that all photographic, manuscript, and other similar items are to be curated at the archives, while all 3D and object-type things come to the Museum to be curated.
As a result of this agreement, Linn said she's in close contact with the archives staff.
"When a unique $5 bank note showed up in a box of items, I was not surprised to learn that they had no information associated with it and we started our own internal research to accompany our Preliminary Justification Form to the Museum’s acquisitions committee."
After completing web-based research on the bill, the museum found an auction sale of the same (P)7718 stamp and red seal, but different serial number and signatures. The number in the upper right corner was also different. That particular $5 note sold for $27,600 in 2006.
Linn promptly put the museum's bill into the vault.
The file on this piece now has twice the number of citations as before. The catalog entry in our database will be much more rich, and our insurance assessment will be much more accurate.
Linn said she'll be keeping an eye on this story, as well as others connected to this early form of paper currency in Fairbanks.